Xtra Time Web Desk: The Indian team management will be in a dilemma to play Ravichandran Ashwin or Axar Patel in Sunday’s blockbuster clash against Pakistan in T20 World Cup 2022 at Melbourne Cricket Ground. With Pakistan having three left handers in their batting order, the off-spinner has a fair chance to get the nod in playing XI.
Experienced Dinesh Karthik is likely to be preferred over Rishabh Pant while on the bowling front it will be a choice between Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel. Mohammad Shami and Arshdeep Singh will be the other two pacers along with Hardik Pandya.
Going by the last two practice sessions at the MCG, the bowling attack will look like Mohammad Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Shami was seen raking up good pace during the optional training session on Friday. Both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel were seen bowling in tandem at the nets on Saturday under the watchful eyes of bowling coach Paras Mhambrey.
The other spot up for grabs is that of the second specialist spinner. Off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left arm spinner Axar Patel is fighting for a spot. Yuzvendra Chahal has been expensive in recent times while Ashwin offers a more economical option, along with some batting depth. But he has not proven to be a wicket-taking option in T20s of late. With Pakistan having as many as three left-handers in the Playing XI, Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid could be tempted to go with Ashwin.
As far as the batting order goes, it looks solid, with all the top order batters amongst runs in recent times. The top five comprising of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya are a certainty.
Here is the likely playing XI for India against Pakistan: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin / Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami & Arshdeep Singh